Lee Siegel eviscerates the notion that conservatives are inferior to liberals when it comes to interacting with pop culture.
As for popular culture in modern times having a left-wing agenda, secret or otherwise, that is a delusion bordering on a hallucination. What they regarded as the fascist potential of popular, mass culture, was a specter that has haunted left intellectuals for nearly one hundred years. See the seminal mid-twentieth-century anthology, Mass Culture, edited by Bernard Rosenberg, in which some of the most prominent left intellectuals in the country argued that film, television, and comic books serve to promote a right-wing agenda by manufacturing a false promise of happiness based on conformity to the capitalist status quo.
The truth is that high and popular culture in America, such as it currently presents itself, satisfies neither the liberal appetite for dissent nor the conservative desire for eternal verities. With some embattled exceptions, the pursuit of the almighty buck has consumed everyone in every cultural realm, from poets to producers. Even as they slug it out over the nature of American culture, liberals and conservatives are more and more determined by the same cultural conditions. No wonder both sides, hamstrung and helpless, scream so loud—though the tired old charge that culture is sneakily or conspiratorially liberal is the most foolishly abrasive of all.
Siegel’s article is part of a symposium on the relationship between pop culture and conservatism.
The bottom line is that Kain’s provocative blog post intrigued us and so we set out to ask some prominent writers that we know, many of them conservative, about the relationship between conservatives and pop culture. Some of the questions we asked them were: Are conservatives bad at pop culture? Or, is that a myth? If they are inherently “bad” at pop culture, then why? More broadly, why do conservative writers and pundits appear uninterested in pop culture? Can you think of good examples of conservatives doing pop culture today?